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Lieut.-Colonel John May
from 'The May Family of Basingstoke'
by F. Ray (1904)

Lieut.-Colonel John May, J.P., V.D., who is the last and most distinguished representative of the family, has on no less than six occasions been Mayor of his native town, his last Mayoralty being in the year which witnessed the Coronation of King Edward VII and the cessation of the war in South Africa, and which made the twentieth Mayoralty in, his family. This, it is believed, constitutes a record in English municipal history.

In these days, when reputations are made in a very few years, it is no uncommon thing to see men, whose connection with a, city or borough has been of short duration, elected to the Mayoral chair, and to their credit be it said, they invariably discharge the duties in an honourable and thoroughly efficient manner. But the cases in which the civic chair passes through the various generations from great uncle and grandfather to great nephew and grandson are few and far between, and therefore the Mayoralties of Colonel May are of more than ordinary importance. Moreover the Colonel, as he is always called in Basingstoke, has devoted his life to the interests of his native town, and has ever striven for the advancement of the borough. Whilst men have come forward and done a few years of useful work, and then, like a meteor flitting across the horizon, have passed out of the public ken, he has gone steadily, consistently, and earnestly on with one object in view, that object being to make life as pleasant as possible for his fellow townsmen, and to promote all measures for the well‑being of the town. His urbane disposition, his extreme loyalty and staunch patriotism, his unswerving devotion to public duties, and his unbounded generosity, have made his name a household word in Basingstoke, and although he is well on to three score years and ten, there is not a man, woman, or child in the borough but that hopes that his useful life may yet be prolonged for many years, and that in the evening of his days he may enjoy the well merited satisfaction of having striven "while it was yet day to make the town better than he found it.

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    David Nash Ford 2001. All Rights Reserved.